Rutaca Airlines (5R) has resumed operations following a fifteen day suspension ordered by the Venezuelan civil aviation authority (Instituto Nacional de Aeronáutica Civil – INAC) on June 9.
At the time, Rutaca’s fleet of eight B737-200Advs and one B737-300 were found to have exceeded their maximum permissible flying cycles resulting in the carrier’s grounding. Though not officially confirmed, sources told El Nacional newspaper that the airline did not have sufficient foreign currency to acquire the necessary spares.
However, according to the same report, operations resumed on Friday, June 23, albeit using a single B737-200Adv – YV390T (msn 22128) – and only with domestic flights from Caracas Simón Bolivar to Barcelona José Antonio Anzoategui and Puerto Ordaz/Ciudad Guayana. International services remain suspended for the meantime with no date given for their resumption.
Venezuelan airlines have been particularly hard-hit by the country’s worsening shortage of foreign currency caused, in part, by low oil prices – the country’s main export – as well as a state-controlled exchange that has created a vibrant black market. Socialist president Nicolas Maduro has blamed the worsening outlook as well as increased social unrest on an international right wing conspiracy intent on overthrowing his regime. Critics, on the other hand, blame his party’s poor economic policies.